Welcome to our Thanksgiving holiday edition of the OPC. Turkey, cranberry sauce, and corn muffins won't be the only things you stuff your face with over the next several days. This weekend is positively jammed packed with college games. Loosen your belt, sink into a soft recliner, and load up on these historic, hot button matchups.
Before we get started, one quick note. This week, and next week will be the final editions of our regular season predictions. After the championship games on December 5th, we'll crown a season winner. But don't fret. The following week we'll start anew, with The Obligatory Predictions Competition Bowl Edition. You'll have the chance to pick all 35 bowls at once, in a winner take all format. So if you didn't wipe the floor with your season picks, consider this a second chance.
Remember to get your picks in by 11:00 a.m. Friday!
1. ILLINOIS at No. 5 CINCINNATI, 12:00 p.m. EST (11/27), ABC
GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts CINCINNATI by 17
This game is a referendum on one coach's ability to create a successful offensive gameplan…and one coach's inability to draw any cohesiveness from his offensive squad. Hot Seat Coach in this game: Zook!
LAW BUCKEYE predicts CINCINNATI by 14
Yes, there's a small part of me that thinks the Illini might get a landmark upset that salvages their shipwrecked season. I thought the same thing before Illinois met Missouri in St. Louis for the season opener in 2008. Not even close. The Illini will overplay the pass, allowing Cincinnati to showcase its ability to run. Tony Pike struggles early, but rebounds to slice and dice the 89th worse defense in the FBS. My bet is this game is bad enough by 2:30 p.m. that you'll be ready to turn the dial to:
GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts ALABAMA by 14
A lack of good offensives in the SEC plus a stingy ‘Bama D equals 10 ppg allowed. ‘Bama hasn’t seen an offense like Auburn’s, but I doubt that these NFL-caliber defenders will lose sleep over Chizik’s misdirection.
LAW BUCKEYE predicts ALABAMA by 7
It's easy to forget in the wake of last year's 36-0 Alabama win, that the modern Iron Bowl has belonged to Auburn. Prior to being embarassed last year, the Tigers had seized the in-state showdown six years in a row. I like the physical chemistry of this matchup: Alabama's brute force against Auburn's speedy spread. The nation's No. 1 (Alabama's Mark Ingram) and No. 3 (Auburn's Ben Tate) rushers will be on display Saturday in a game that I suspect will lock up early. Alabama pushes and pulls its way to Atlanta with a perfect record.
GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts FLORIDA by 17
FSU hasn’t stopped anyone all year. Their defense is like the Maginot Line of college football: Easily circumvented, lacking interior strength, and no organization. Hot Seat Coach in this game: Bowden! Coach Leaving: Andrews!
LAW BUCKEYE predicts FLORIDA by 14
Florida doesn't have a sizzling deep threat this year, making its offense about as fun to watch as a stripper in a turtleneck, but who needs big plays when you've got a defense that all but guarantees you'll win the battle of field position. Bobby Bowden has all but said the Seminoles can't compete. If he doesn't believe, why should I?
GRAHAMFILLER10 predicts GEORGIA TECH by 17
GT has that magical knack for winning close games. I love the triple option like a brother and I love the toughness Paul Johnson installed. Dead Coach Walking: Willie Martinez!
LAW BUCKEYE predicts GEORGIA TECH by 10
Not only has Paul Johnson's vaunted triple-option attack survived its second run through conference play, the offense has flourished as the Yellow Jackets have learned to execute. The uniqueness of the Tech attack is another headache for Mark Richt, who already has to worry about his team's problems turning the ball over, failing to force turnovers, and piling up penalty yards. Georgia looks confused and disoriented as they fall to their rivals in Atlanta for the first time in a decade.
5. NOTRE DAME at STANFORD, 8:00 p.m. EST (11/28), ABC
White Wonder Toby Gerhart is foaming at the mouth in anticipation of smacking heads with the Irish defenders. Something to know about Stanford - Not only can they smashmouth, they can play action and go down the field, as witnessed in the USC depantsing. I know it'll be fun for Jimmy Clausen to be back in the home state, but ND has failed to take advantage of endgame opportunities all year. Dead Coach Limping: Chuck Weis!
LAW BUCKEYE predicts STANFORD by 7
I know what you're thinking: who cares about this game? Charlie Weis is done. Stanford can't win the Pac 10. Neither team is ranked. I'd like to suggest this game is the week's toughest to pick. How will the Irish play for their interred leader? Will they come out strong, showing the flash in a pan offensive brilliance they displayed at times this season, taking advantage of a Cardinal squad that was rattled by California last week? Or will they sink softly into the earth, making Tuesday's meeting between Weis and (Athletic Director) Jack Swarbrick merely precatory? Will this be for the Irish what the 2007 Capital One Bowl was for Michigan? I think the Irish play hard, but their defense can't overcome the sound and fury of Stanford's rush attack. Stanford drops the other shoe.